What Is Pickleball? The Rules, Benefits & How To Play

closeup photo of tennis net

What is Pickleball, and What are the Rules?

Pickleball is a fast-paced, dynamic sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong. It can be played as singles or doubles and involves hitting a ball over a net using paddles. The game has been growing in popularity since it was first developed in 1965 with more than 2 million players now enjoying the thrill of pickleball all around the world.

The rules of pickleball are relatively simple – two to four players use wooden paddles (or specialized composite ones) to hit a plastic ball back and forth across a low net on either side of the court. Points are scored when opponents fail to return shots or hit them out of bounds. A few other regulations vary depending on where you’re playing – some areas have height restrictions for nets, while others may allow different types of serves or require games be best two out three sets instead of one set to 21 points.

Scoring System

In general, pickleball matches have predetermined point counts at which they end – usually 11 or 21 points depending on skill level – although some tournaments may employ 15 point games instead. Points can only be earned by serving teams. If an opponent faults, then no point is awarded regardless of who wins the rally that follows until serve changes hands again after the score reaches 11/21/15, etc. Games must be won by two points, so if the score reaches 29-all, another point needs to be won before the match ends with a 30-29 victory, for example.

When the serving team commits a fault, their opponents get a chance to serve next but retain the same amount of points – even when there’s a changeover between servers from the same side court during play! If both teams commit a simultaneous double fault, then the service alternates between sides until someone manages to put a legal strike into play again successfully. This also applies to occasions when the server fails to return their own shot correctly too!

Winning Conditions

To win a game of Pickleball, you must reach eleven (or fifteen) points first while maintaining at least a two-point lead ahead of your opponent(s). Once the scoring reaches ten (or fourteen), each point gained will bring you closer to victory. However, if your opponent(s) manages to equalize the situation immediately, a new round will start right away once the discrepancy has been reconciled. If both teams tie at twenty-nine all, then just one extra swing is needed to decide the outcome. Whoever wins that decisive final point will claim the victory.

In summary, Pickleball is an exciting sport enjoyed worldwide due to its appealing combination of elements from multiple racquet sports like Tennis, Badminton, and Ping Pong, making it suitable for everyone regardless of age or ability level. The rules involve returning balls over the net using various strikes while attempting to gain an advantage through tactical placement, luring opponents into errors, and accumulating enough points to claim victory within the given target number of rounds (typically eleven/fifteen). As long as competitors understand how scoring works and keep track of their progress throughout the match, it should not take them too long to master the basics behind this highly enjoyable pastime!


Pickleball offers an exciting alternative to traditional racquet sports like tennis and badminton while still requiring strategy and skillful technique in order to achieve success. With straightforward yet comprehensive rules governing playtime activities such as serving etiquette proper stroke execution, plus many more nuances associated this wonderful leisure activity will surely provide hours upon entertainment for families friends anyone else wishing challenge themselves against opposition alike!